Business Ethics Report


The purpose of this report is to benchmark some area of business ethics, for the company you might be working for, your industry, or a particular area of business practices you are interested in. The audience for this paper may be conceived in terms of your superior at work who assigns you the task of getting her and your unit up to speed on best ethical practices in your area.


Sustainable fashion: vegan leather, sustainable fibers, recycling used clothing; fabric and shoes from plastic waste. Possible Companies: Adidas, All birds, Patagonia, Levis etc.


Once you decide on the business ethics issue you want to cover, you will locate four companies which have faced this problem. Your task in the paper will be as follows:

  • to define your ethical issue;
  • todescribeEITHER
    • what each of your four companies struggled with, with respect to the ethical issue, ALONG WITH what each company did after either being discovered or admitting to having the ethical problem
  • OR the stretch goal they assumed and how they went about fulfilling their improvement goalAND how well they have done bringing that goal to reality;
  • to describe Best Ethical Practices for your issue, established by one or more of the following means:
  • Guidelines or rules established by a non-governmental organization
  • Relevant laws and established professional codes of conduct, international standards, etc.
  • Expert opinions gleaned from journal articles or other sources
  • A “Best Practices” model company, which deploys and utilizes the best practices you are espousing
  • to write a follow-up, where you 1) review and report on each company’s record on your ethical issue for the past two years, and 2) give your judgment of how well each company handled its ethical issue, including what they could or should have done differently.

You may certainly examine companies which are considered highly ethical and how they handle ethics within their organization, or best ethical practices they have implemented. 

In any case, you cannot use one of the four original companies as a Best Ethical Practices company. For that you need a fifth company.


Your research for this paper will include consulting at least twelve articles. These can be a mix of edited/published and Internet-only sources. Be sure you vet the reliability of information you use, especially from websites which are not fact-checked or edited.  Wikipedia does not count as a source, though you may use it as a starting point for further research. I suggest not using more than four Internet-only sources out of 12.


You will first submit a draft. The draft will include the following sections:

*delineation of the ethical issue

*one company’s experience with it

*best ethical practices in your topic area

*bibliography for what you have written.

The draft is intentionally short, so that I can make sure you are citing properly, and to give feedback on the best practices section.  DO NOT give me a draft of the whole paper—I won’t have time to correct the whole thing and get it back to you in a timely way. The bibliography for the draft only needs to include sources you use in the draft.

The final paper, per above,will include the following sections:

*delineation of the ethical issue

*description of each of your four companies’ experience with it, follow-up actions and results from your four companies

*Best Ethical Practices in your topic area,

*Your assessment of how effectively each company handled its ethical issue.


The paper will be 6-8 pages long, double spaced with .7 inch margins and 11 point Arial Narrow type. There should be no extra spaces between paragraphs.  Paragraphs should start with an indent of 0.5”. These specifications are required because I need space to be able to make corrective marks. A Works Cited page will be counted separately, but should follow directly after the paper’s last paragraph (don’t make a separate file). Do not use a cover sheet. Instead give the paper a single-spaced header containing your name and the date. The title should be at the top of the first page of the paper. I will deduct points as I see fit for failure to comply with formatting guidelines.      

Dates and Deadlines

Three points will be given for emailing a draft as Word docx, due in class on Monday, October 19. Drafts will be returned with my comments on Monday, October 26.  Final papers as Word docxsmust be emailed by class time onMonday, November 9.

American Psychological Association (APA) Formatting for Citations and Reference List

You will use APA style notation. This means we will use in-text citations rather than footnotes. Here are the key points:

In-text citations consist of the author(s)’ last name and the year of publication, like so: (Palmieri, 2019).

If the author is an organization, give that name and the date of publication: (Patagonia, 2020).

If there is no author given, use a shortened version of the title and the year of publication: (Thread Lightly, 2008).

For a full explanation of other possibilities using APA style, check out

  1. All material which is quoted exactly needs to be treated as follows:
  1. For segments under three full lines, use quotation marks, followed by the in-text citation:


Patagonia, a company founded by Yves Chouinard, is built on an environmentally sensitive outlook: “Build the best product,

cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” (Patagonia, 2013).

  • For segments longer than three full lines, use a left indent of 1” and cite as follows:


                Patagonia takes additional stapes to reduce its water pollution.:

When snow or rainfall hits impermeable surfaces – such as parking lots, roofs and walkways – it runs off, carrying with it oil, gasoline, detergents, pesticides, garbage and other pollutants. These could flow into the nearby Truckee River, which supplies the city of Reno with some 85% of its municipal water. To ensure that the rate and quantity of storm-water runoff from our facility does not exceed pre-development levels, our civil engineers designed a management system that exceeds those found on most commercial sites. In our parking lot, we installed pervious pavers that allow water to percolate back into the ground. We integrated detention ponds into the landscape to capture runoff from the roof before it passes into the soil – a natural filter. In the paved area of the receiving dock, we installed two sand/oil separation units to aggressively filter out contaminants before runoff heads into city storm drains and ultimately the Truckee River. (Patagonia, 2013)

  • All material taken from a source which you paraphrase needs to be cited at the end of the first sentence that draws on that source.


                While Patagonia has changed its mission to saving the planet (Palmieri, 2019), the brand has a complicated relationship to sustainability (Hepburn, 2013). One way it sought to make consumers aware of the carbon footprint of its products was to post information about how much carbon was involved in designing, producing and recycling its products next to items in its catalog (Thread Lightly, 2008). However, in 2020, its online store now offers generalized information for the company as a whole (, 2020).  It also offers information about its supply chain, working conditions for people supplying its materials and making its products, and its commitment to eventually making all of its products from “sustainable” materials.  Although Fortune magazine has called Patagonia the “coolest company of the planet” (Palmieri, 2019), we need to dig deeper to find out what the company is currently doing, along with its past accomplishments and future plans. 

Remember: a link does not equal a citation. Links break, move or are taken down, and therefore do not enable your reader always to find the material you looked at. A full citation makes retrieving that information much more possible.

You are responsible for properly citing material taken from sources—whether quote or paraphrased. So if you have any questions, please ask—there are no stupid questions!  

 I will run all papers through  I will deduct points for lines I find which should be indicated as direct quotes but are not.  I may also submit a report of academic dishonesty to the Dean.

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